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What Does Advent Mean For Me?

December 27 2018
December 27 2018

By this point, the gifts have been opened. That turkey or ham has been carved and the leftovers are packed up in the fridge. The Christmas decorations are still up and Christmas music is playing, but only for a few more days. Soon January 1 will come and, while we might not rush to take the tree down, we all know it’s only a matter of time. Christmas is behind us; the New Year is before us.

Dear Christian, don’t move on too quickly! We don’t pack up the incarnation with the decorations. Through Christmas is for but a season, its message is timeless. So, as we end this Advent season and begin a New Year together, here are some ways to carry the Christmas message forward.

1. Our God is ImmanuelMatthew 1:23 quotes Isaiah 7:14, as the angels tell Mary of Christ’s coming birth. This Jesus is Immanuel, which is Hebrew for “God with us.” Our God isn’t distant from us. When we face the inevitable trials and hardship this new year will bring, think back to what we’re reminded of each Christmas. When God saw our need, he didn’t back away. He leaned in, even when it meant a humble birth. He leaned in, even when it required a cross. Our God is with us.

2. Our God is Like Us – That sounds like heresy at first glance, but stick with me. There’s a chasm between the Creator and his creation. The Psalms often cry out, “Who is like God?” Yet, when Jesus was born, he took to himself a true human nature. God became like us which means, as Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us, he’s able to sympathize with us in our weakness. Because Jesus Christ became a human being like us, he’s perfectly equipped to help us. Because Jesus is God and doesn’t sin like us, he’s qualified to intercede for us. In Jesus we get the best of both!

3. God Gives Us a Model – Every religion offers principles to live by. How do we live the wise life? What is true love? What does it mean to follow God? Every religion will give you ways to answer that question and maybe even a wise and moral teacher to follow. Christianity gives us something better. God didn’t just give us a human teacher to follow. He gave us himself. In Jesus Christ, God became a human being and lived a perfect human life, thus giving us a real-life model of faithfulness. Don’t make Jesus an abstraction or a set of principles. Jesus is a person. He’s a person we follow.

That list could keep growing, but those three things will get us started. Jesus being born to us – God becoming man – is at the heart of our faith. What does it mean for you to believe that Jesus had a birthday? How does it change your life to know that God took on flesh? Let’s carry that with us year-round!


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